Summer Fun Days Event Makes Learning About Sea Life Fun

By Samantha Yale Scroggin, Santa Maria Times, June 23, 2013
The snowy plover craft Saturday at the State Parks Department’s Summer Fun Days event in Pismo Beach was about more than just creating cute little fluffy birds out of cotton balls.
State Parks employees also took the opportunity to educate youngsters about the importance of being alert to snovy plover nests in the sand on the beach.
The free event at North Beach Campground educated children on life that resides along the local seashore in a fun way.
“You’ve always got to watch out for them (snowy plovers),” said Mallory Claassen, State Parks interpretive specialist. “Their nests are basically just little divots in the sand, and because of their markings they really blend in,” she added.
“Because they nest in the divots, they look like tire tracks,” Claassen said.
“It’s important to know why we have a huge chunk of beach roped off,” she continued.
Danielle Patterson, State Parks interpreter at Oceano Dunes State Park, said Summer Fun Days are held in Pismo Beach once each in June, July and August, typically on Saturdays. The themes and locations can vary slightly.
The next such occasion is scheduled for July 4 at the North Beach Campground.
Summer Fun Days for kids have been taking place for three years, Patterson added.
“They love the hands-on learning, and that’s why we have so many tactile items. Kids love to touch,” she said.
Along with snowy plover crafts, activities included sand art, looking at wildlife through a telescope, experiencing how a substance similar to whale blubber can protect your hand from cold water, touching animal furs and replica skulls, and using oversized tape to demonstrate the lengths of various sea life.
The Ernstrom siblings from San Luis Obispo had fun doing all the activities.
“I like the blubber station, because when you just put your hand in the ice it was cold, but when you put the blubber in, it wasn’t that cold,” said 10-year-old Luke.
Ricky, 8, liked seeing the lengths of ocean creatures.
“My favorite about that one was the blue whale, because you finally get to know how big it is if you don’t know,” he said.
“The tongue is the size of one elephant. Just his tongue,” Ricky added, incredulous.
Luke and Ricky were joined by their siblings Ben, 12, and Nancy, 9.
Danville sisters Bella Pierotti, 6, and Emory, 4, were also taken aback by the size of the blue whale.
“The blue whale’s huge!” Bella exclaimed.